The Secrets Of How To Reset Miles On A Car

Purchasing a used car is cost-saving, but there is a high chance of being ripped off if you are not careful. One common issue is the odometer fraud that many old car sellers do to deceive customers. If you know how to reset miles on a car, it will be easier for you to detect the tampering. In this discussion, we will explore the methods used to reset the miles on a car, as well as the potential legal and ethical implications of doing so.

Is It Legal To Reset Mileage On Car?

Can a car mileage be reset? Yes. Is it legal? No. Is there no legal way to reset the mileage? Yes, there is. How to reset miles on a car in a legal way? Keep reading.

The practice is not uncommon if you need to replace the gauge cluster. But, it drops the car’s resale value and you have to inform the buyer at the time of selling.

can a car mileage be reset
Resetting the odometer is illegal (Photo: autocars)

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In fact, if you are using the same VIN (vehicle identification number) for your car, the buyer will know if you have reset the odometer. The VIN is enough to dig out the records of registration, modifications, repairs, accidents, and other things about a car.

However, most cases of resetting mileage are considered odometer fraud and it’s not legal to do it. Tampering with or resetting a vehicle’s odometer is a federal crime in the United States, punishable by fines and imprisonment. The odometer is a critical component of a vehicle’s history and is used to determine its value, reliability, and safety. Resetting the odometer to lower mileage can deceive buyers into believing that a car has less wear and tear than it actually does. This can lead to financial harm for the buyer and is considered fraud. In addition, resetting the odometer can also lead to inaccurate maintenance and repair records, which can make it difficult to properly maintain and repair the vehicle. Therefore, it is important to always maintain accurate mileage records and to report any suspected tampering to the appropriate authorities.

If someone sells you a ‘zero-mile’ car and you later find out about the fraud, you can sue them.

How To Reset Miles On A Car

Many old car sellers reset the odometer to make the vehicle appear newer and demand more money from the buyer. How do that they that?

Changing the instrument cluster: In most Japanese cars, the mileage is stored on the instrument cluster, not on the ECU. If you replace the cluster with a new one, the mileage will show zero. If you take the cluster from another car, the dashboard will show the mileage from the original vehicle. The legal way is to transpose the miles from the old unit before the replacement.

Tampering with a knob: There is a knob near the dashboard that does multiple functions like temperature evaluation and showing the remaining fuel percentage. But, you can use it for manipulating the odometer reading too. Just press it for a few seconds when you see the fuel’s economy. It will reset the odometer to ‘0’.

reset mileage on car
Old car sellers mostly do the odometer tampering (Photo Source: thestar)

Reassemble the odometer: If you have good technical knowledge about car parts and mechanisms, resetting a mechanical odometer in an older vehicle is an easy job. You have to dismount the odometer and change its values before reassembling. It will be difficult to do the tampering if the odometer has a tamper-proof seal.

If you decide to do the rigging, remember to match the mileage with the condition of the vehicle. The average lifespan of tires is 25,000 km. It will clearly look fishy if the tires are in a dire condition but the odometer reads only 10,000 miles.

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How To Know If Odometer Is Tampered?

Knowing if an odometer has been tampered with can be difficult, but there are several signs you can look out for to determine if the mileage reading on a car is accurate:

  • Inconsistencies in the car’s history: Check the car’s service history and previous ownership records for inconsistencies in the reported mileage. If the mileage seems to have jumped or decreased significantly between service records, it could be a sign of tampering.
  • Wear and tear: The wear and tear on the car’s interior and exterior should correspond with the mileage reading. If the wear and tear is excessive for the reported mileage, it could be a sign that the odometer has been tampered with.
  • Dash screws: Look for signs of tampering on the dashboard, such as loose or missing screws that could indicate the odometer has been removed or tampered with.
  • Digital Odometers: Digital odometers can be easier to tamper with than mechanical ones. If the car has a digital odometer, check for signs of tampering such as a mismatch between the mileage displayed and the car’s overall condition.
  • Inspection: Have the car inspected by a trusted mechanic or dealer. They can inspect the car’s condition and compare it to the reported mileage to determine if there are any discrepancies.

The Bottom Line

The mileage of a car is an important factor in determining its value and overall condition. However, there may be instances where the mileage reading on a car needs to be reset, such as when a new engine or instrument cluster is installed. While resetting a car’s mileage may be illegal in many countries and is generally not recommended, there are ways to do it. And as you know how to reset miles on a car, it will be easier for you to detect mileage fraud. Remember that the wear on all parts of a car is as old as the mileage. Besides, you can always check the VIN to find out if the seller is deceiving you.